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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

ATTENDING THE EDDIE Adams Workshop’s opening cocktail party last week were, from the left, the Honorable Robert C. Williams, Eddie Adams, Dick Herbert and George Cooke. Williams is a retired state Supreme Court justice, Adams is a famous photographer, Herbert is a Kohlertown auto dealer and Cooke is the county clerk. All are friends.

Eddie Adams Workshop
Returns to Jeffersonville

By Ted Waddell
JEFFERSONVILLE — October 12, 2001 – The world of photojournalism paid a visit to the Village of Jeffersonville recently during the 14th Annual Eddie Adams Workshop.
Barnstorm XIV attracted some of the most respected names in photography, as they came to the home/workshop of Eddie and Alyssa Adams to share their knowledge and expertise with 100 of the world’s most promising photography students or young professionals with less than three years of experience in the field of photojournalism.
As a photojournalist, Eddie Adams won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Photography for his coverage on the Vietnam War, during which he accompanied American and Vietnamese combat troops on 150 operations. He is the only three-time winner of the Sigma Delta Chi’s Distinguished Service Award, and the George Polk Memorial Award.
In addition, Adams is the recipient of more than 500 international awards. During a career that spans more than four decades, he has covered 13 wars and numerous diverse subjects that reflect his passion for capturing the world through the reflective lens of a camera.
Alyssa Adams is deputy photo editor at “TV Guide” and recently assisted her famed husband on the editing of his book, “Speak Truth to Power,” a photo-rich volume featuring human rights activists which was published by Random House last year.
She has served as executive producer of Barnstorm: the Eddie Adams Workshop since its inception and is a member of the board of directors.
Barnstorm XIV, “The Experience in Photojournalism,” was produced by Vanessa Reiser, who also served as managing director of the workshop.
Barnstorm XIV was sponsored by Nikon and Kodak Professional. Co-sponsors included Sony’s Image Station and Adobe. Contributors included Parade Magazine, Epson, Bronica, Profoto, Bogen, Tiffen, Photographic Magazine and American Photo Magazine.
In addition, several well known publications/media supported this year’s edition of the Eddie Adams Workshop: the Associated Press, Belo Corp., CBS, the Houston Chronicle, the Miami Herald, the National Geographic Society, the New York Times, People, Sports Illustrated, Time, the Walt Disney Co. and the Washington Post.
The White House also lent its support to the cause of introducing up-and-coming photojournalists to the shooting world.
On Thursday, the folks that run the workshops threw open the Barnstorm doors as they hosted an RSVP celebration of the Eddie Adams Workshop.
“The purpose of the workshops are to give photographers who are just starting out in photography a chance to meet people who can give them jobs,” said Reiser, who is in her second season as workshop producer/director.
According to Reiser, more than 1,000 aspiring shooters applied for the 14th annual workshop; only 100 were selected after their portfolios were judged by the workshop’s board of directors: Eddie Adams, Alyssa Adams, Vincent Alabiso, Adrienne Aurichio, Hal Buell, James Colton, Joe Elbert, Dave Einsel, Steve Fine, John Filo, Maura Foley, MaryAnne Golon, Tom Kennedy, Kent. J. Kobersteen, Elaine Laffont, Jean Pierre Laffont, Richard LoPinto, MC Marden, Margaret O’Connor, Jay Sato and Michele Stephenson.
The students were divided into ten teams comprised of ten students each, and every team worked on an assignment under the direction of a leader, editor and producer.
Working virtually around the clock, the workshop culminated with a slide show featuring what the editors considered to be the students’ best work.
“This is probably the most photographed town in the country,” said Reiser. “The energy created here is almost tangible, and this is Eddie’s contribution to photography – his way of giving back.”
A few years ago, Sullivan County Clerk George L. Cooke II was the subject of one of the workshop’s teams – as was his beloved father Lawrence H. Cooke, the late Sullivan County Judge and Chief Justice of the NYS Court of Appeals, a couple of seasons before that.
“I taught Eddie Adams everything he knows about photography with my Brownie automatic,” he said jokingly.
Al and Norma Jean Wiedl of Pensville, NJ attended New Kensington High School in Pa. with Eddie Adams. While not classmates, Al Wiedl recalled that the future winner of the Pulitzer Prize had to borrow some money from a tight-fisted uncle in order to buy a camera – or so the story goes.
“I’ve known Eddie before he was housebroken, since a long time back,” said Wiedl. “When he was in high school, he always walked around with a camera [and] the kids laughed at him, but you know what . . . they don’t laugh at him now! He’s always been a good guy – always a straight shooter.”
According to Alyssa Adams, for the most part photographers are a competitive breed, and the workshops give them a chance to prove themselves under fire.
“These kids want to show people what they can do,” she said. “At this time of the year, this place is like a hot spot on the face of the earth.”
Like his on-the-go students, Eddie Adams isn’t the easiest guy to pin down for an interview, as he is a lot more comfortable behind the lens than sitting still for a few seconds.
And when he does sit down, he doesn’t mince words.
Asked why he hosts the annual series of workshops, Adams replied, “Why not? That’s kind of a dumb question.
“This is important, because we try to help young people out by shaving five years off their [professional] lives,” he added.
Adams said he thinks the current state of affairs in photography is better than ever, because “young people have a better eye. . . . They were brought up with television, so they are more visually oriented and see things a lot quicker. . . . It’s a different ballgame.
“It’s magic,” he said of the energy created at the workshops. “You have the world’s best photographers and the best editors from all the major magazines, newspapers and wire services . . . and the brightest talent in the world.”
Sounds like he has as much fun as anyone this time of the year.
“I’ve done nothing else but photography ever since I was a little boy,” said Adams. “And I just haven’t stopped.”

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